|Publication number||US7364121 B2|
|Application number||US 11/080,111|
|Publication date||Apr 29, 2008|
|Filing date||Mar 14, 2005|
|Priority date||Mar 14, 2005|
|Also published as||US20060214063|
|Publication number||080111, 11080111, US 7364121 B2, US 7364121B2, US-B2-7364121, US7364121 B2, US7364121B2|
|Inventors||Guner Firuz, Michael H. Jaeger, Robert M. Agate, William M. Bresley|
|Original Assignee||The Boeing Company|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (16), Non-Patent Citations (3), Referenced by (9), Classifications (10), Legal Events (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention is directed generally to methods and systems for automatically controlling aircraft takeoff rolls.
Conventional commercial transport aircraft include a multitude of automated systems for controlling the aircraft during flight. These systems include an aircraft autopilot, which can be activated by the flight crew after the aircraft has reached 200 feet in altitude for automatically guiding the aircraft along a target track. These systems also include flight directors and other visual cues that do not actually control the motion of the aircraft, but provide a moving target at the flight deck which the pilot “captures” when flying along the target track. Such visual guide cues can also be activated during takeoff.
One drawback with the visual systems that provide guidance cues during aircraft takeoff is that while they adequately perform their intended functions, they may have limited utility in some conditions. These conditions may include low runway visibility, wet or icy runways, strong crosswinds, engine-out takeoffs, and/or engine-out refused takeoffs. Accordingly, it may be desirable to have automatic systems that provide an increased level of performance under these conditions.
The following summary is provided for the benefit of the reader and does not limit the invention as set forth in the claims. The present invention is directed generally toward methods and systems for automatically controlling aircraft takeoff rolls. A method in accordance with one aspect of the invention includes receiving an indication of a target takeoff roll path for an aircraft, and automatically controlling a direction of the aircraft while the aircraft is on a takeoff roll, so as to at least approximately follow the target takeoff roll path. In further particular aspects of the invention, the method can further include providing an input to a rudder of the aircraft, and in response to receiving an indication of an engine failure, transferring the input from the rudder to a rudder trim element. In still further particular aspects, the method can include gradually reducing the automatic control of the aircraft once the aircraft exceeds a threshold pitch angle.
Aspects of the invention are also directed toward systems for controlling an aircraft. One such system includes a receiver configured to receive an indication of a target takeoff roll path for an aircraft, and a controller coupled to the receiver to receive the indication of the target roll path. The controller can further be coupled to a steering system of the aircraft to automatically control a direction of the aircraft while the aircraft is on a takeoff roll, so as to at least approximately follow the target takeoff roll path.
A method in accordance with still another aspect of the invention includes determining a lateral deviation distance from a target path, determining a lateral acceleration, and filtering the lateral deviation with the lateral acceleration to produce a filtered lateral deviation. The method can further include filtering the lateral acceleration with the lateral deviation to produce a filtered lateral deviation rate. The method can then also include determining a commanded lateral position and commanded lateral position rate based on the complementary filtered lateral deviation and complementary filtered lateral deviation rates. Based on the commanded position, the filtered lateral deviation, the commanded lateral position rate and the filtered lateral deviation rate, the method can include determining a first commanded angular position. Based on the first commanded angular position, a sensed yaw rate, and a commanded lateral acceleration, the method can include determining a second commanded angular position. The method can further include directing a rudder and landing gear of the aircraft to move in a manner that directs the aircraft to the second commanded angular position. The foregoing arrangements can provide for a robust, automated system for controlling aircraft takeoff rolls.
The present disclosure describes systems and methods for automatically controlling aircraft takeoff rolls. Certain specific details are set forth in the following description and in
Many embodiments of the invention described below may take the form of computer-executable instructions, including routines executed by a programmable computer. Those skilled in the relevant art will appreciate that the invention can be practiced on computer systems other than those shown and described below. The invention can be embodied in a special-purpose computer or data processor that is specifically programmed, configured or constructed to perform one or more of the computer-executable instructions described below. Accordingly, the term “computer” as generally used herein refers to any data processor and can include Internet appliances, hand-held devices (including palm top computers, wearable computers, cellular or mobile phones, multi-processor systems, processor-based or programmable consumer electronics, network computers, minicomputers and the like). Information presented by these computers can be presented at any suitable display medium, including a CRT display or LCD.
The invention can also be practiced in distributed computing environments, where tasks or modules are performed by remote processing devices that are linked through a communications network. In a distributed computing environment, program modules or subroutines may be located in local and remote memory storage devices. Aspects of the invention described below may be stored or distributed on computer-readable media, including magnetic or optically-readable or removable computer disks, as well as distributed electronically over networks. Data structures and transmissions of data particular to aspects of the invention are also encompassed within the scope of the invention.
In one aspect of this embodiment, the system 220 includes a computer 221 having a processor 227 and a memory 228. The computer 221 can also include a receiver portion 225 that receives input signals, and a controller 222 that directs control signals to the aircraft 100, based on the input signals received by the receiver portion 225. Accordingly, the receiver portion 225 can receive target information 229 corresponding to the target path along which the aircraft 100 is to be guided. The system 220 can also include sensors 223 that provide information about the velocities and accelerations of the aircraft 100 as it proceeds down the runway. Information corresponding to the operation of the system 220 can be presented at one or more displays 224, which may in turn be located at the flight deck 240.
The complementary filtered lateral deviation rate value 461 is obtained by filtering the body lateral acceleration value 579 with the lateral deviation value 578. The body lateral acceleration value 579 can be calculated from sensor data, and can revert to the sensed cross-runway acceleration 572 when the ground speed 567 is less than a threshold value (e.g., 44 feet/second). Sensed values for the body yaw rate 580 and runway heading 581 are also used to obtain the filtered values 461 and 462. One advantage of filtering the lateral deviation and lateral deviation rates is that it provides a high gain, stable feedback control loop, based primarily on position at low frequency values and rate at high frequency values. This arrangement is also expected to be less susceptible to signal noise.
One feature of embodiments of the systems described above is that they can be configured to automatically guide the aircraft along a runway centerline (or other relevant path) during a takeoff roll. Accordingly, this automatic system can make takeoffs during difficult environmental conditions easier for the flight crew. Such environmental conditions can include icy or wet runways, strong crosswinds, low visibility, and/or engine out scenarios.
Another feature of at least some of the foregoing embodiments is that the system can gradually reduce the degree to which it controls the aircraft lateral position and track angle. For example, in at least some embodiments, the system can cease controlling the aircraft to the runway centerline after the aircraft passes a threshold airspeed (e.g., V1). The system can guide the aircraft to maintain whatever track angle it had just prior to reaching the threshold pitch angle. Furthermore, embodiments of the system can gradually reduce the yaw control provided by the system after the threshold pitch angle is achieved. In particular aspects of these embodiments, the system can disengage as the aircraft lifts off (e.g., 3-4 seconds after achieving the threshold pitch angle). After the system disengages, the flight crew has control over the lateral and directional position of the aircraft and can retain control of the aircraft until engaging the autopilot (typically at an altitude above 200 feet). An advantage of the foregoing arrangement is that it can reduce the tendency for the aircraft to undergo sudden changes in yaw as it lifts off the airport runway.
Still another feature of systems in accordance with embodiments of the invention is that they can automatically respond to an engine out condition. For example, in particular embodiments, the system can automatically trim the rudder to account not only for the last commanded yaw input, but also to account for the yaw input resulting from the yaw moment created by the loss of an engine. This differs from existing systems, which compute a thrust differential based on the loss of an engine and provide a rudder input corresponding to the thrust differential, including a gain factor. A potential advantage of the arrangement described above with reference to
From the foregoing, it will be appreciated that specific embodiments of the invention have been described herein for purposes of illustration, but that various modifications may be made without deviating from the invention. For example, the control laws and sensor techniques described above are representative of particular embodiments of the invention, and may be different in other embodiments. In further embodiments, the aircraft can be controlled to follow a track that is different than a runway centerline. Aspects of the invention described in particular embodiments may be combined or eliminated in other embodiments. For example, some systems may include all the features described above with reference to
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|U.S. Classification||244/175, 244/194, 701/15|
|International Classification||B64C13/00, G05D3/00, G05D1/08|
|Cooperative Classification||G05D1/0202, G05D1/0083|
|European Classification||G05D1/02B, G05D1/00E|
|Apr 2, 2005||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: THE BOEING COMPANY, ILLINOIS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:FIRUZ, GUNER;JAEGER, MICHAEL H.;AGATE, ROBERT M.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:015853/0621
Effective date: 20050309
|Jan 6, 2009||CC||Certificate of correction|
|Sep 23, 2011||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Oct 29, 2015||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8